Issue 50, April 2011
Free to download magazine dedicated to Commodore computers
Available as PDF, HTML, TXT, SEQ, D64 disk image
and now as ePUB and MOBI e-book

Doctor Who actress Elisabeth Sladen
has died of cancer at the age of 63



Hi again

Wow issue 50 half a centaury; that’s quite a good innings from a fanzine. Maybe I should celebrate somehow, throw a party …

Nahhh can’t be bothered really; basically we have to much going on is this issue to get wound up on celebrations, heck we wouldn’t have time to read this months issue if we were celebrating so much.


In this issue we have the usual news, but I must point out the superb DirMaster v2.2 by Style a very classy piece of software, and that reminds me I still need to donate something to them for this piece of work…


This software has also received an honourable mention; this piece of work is now really coming together well. Of course you can read more about each in the news section of the magazine


I received an entry for the magazine from John Fielden about Amiga BASIC programming, and as I copied and pasted his name directly into the text I am guessing I manage to spell his name correctly this month again apologies John.

We also have an interview with Adrian Simpson from GTWa (Games That Weren’t Amiga) and he reminisces about some of the Amiga games that nearly made it to the market but just failed for some reason and were pulled before distribution. Of course you need to visit the website to see all the titles that just didn’t quite make it to the market place.

Readers Comments

Hmmm it’s been pretty quiet; I did have a few “thanks for the mag and keep up the work” style emails so I guess you are still reading. I haven’t checked the website stats for some time to get a feel of how many downloads are actually happening; I think I need to do this. I did receive an email from a prominent Commodore user who said it was a good read although they wouldn’t let me reprint there name here, and declined an interview. I guess they are too ashamed of actually liking the magazine to read, well they could be shy I suppose.

Fun N Games

I was hoping to do more games reviews however the person who contacted me and said he would help hasn’t been in touch so I have reviewed a couple of Commodore 64 games that appeared recently and caught my eye. If you feel you can review games slightly better then my rather poor efforts feel free to drop me an email.


I haven’t had any feed back on the eBook, does it work ok for you (assuming you are reading the magazine this way) Comments suggestions and criticisms are always welcome they can be anonymous if you prefer to be an unknown, just let me know in the emails and It will be just between me and you.


Well that’s about all for this editorial TTFN

editor signing out and happy reading….

Nigel (pretend Editor)

I am pretty sure that Every Commodore user is a Doctor who fan and I for one really enjoyed the Sarah Jane’s adventures; and so on this assumption it is with sadness that I read about the following announcement.

Doctor Who actress Elisabeth Sladen has died of cancer at the age of 63, the BBC has confirmed.


Viva Amiga

It's pre-order Time!

Hey there, fellow Amigans...

Alright, we're at the pre-order stage now. We've got enough done on the film (more interviews shot, DVD packages determined and graphics created) to go ahead and offer the film for pre-order.

First, a little news...

RJ Mical, legendary video game industry pioneer, Workbench designer, and part of the original Amiga design team, has just signed on to be interviewed.

Eric Schwartz, well-known Amiga animator, will appear in the film as well. He has also offered to do some special graphics for the film.

My long-time friend and expert animator Maksim Bondarev has also just signed on with the film! He'll be creating 3-D models of all the major Amiga models that will be used for animated sequences in the film.....

I want to thank you SO much for your support so far. This project is moving along great now. But we need your help. You may place a pre-order for one of our cool packages or simply donate. We've set a goal of $25,000 for pre-orders/donations, but honestly that is the bare minimum we need to pull this off. I'd love to see it soar much higher. The more donations and/or pre-orders we receive, the better the film will be. You have no idea of the costs we will encounter - travel fees, lab/post-production costs, legal fees... it goes on and on. Please help!

So please head on over to our page and place your pre-order now!

The Amiga will never die!

Zach Weddington
Producer, Viva Amiga

Helpful Film Links

This project will only be funded if at least $25,000 is pledged by Wednesday Jul 20, 8:22pm EDT.

About this project

Hello everyone!

If you're reading this, you've probably been to and have seen the trailer, and are likely an Amiga user or general fan. But if that's not the case, here's the general pitch:

In 1985, a powerful new kind of computer was born. It was 10 years ahead of its time, and ready to take on Microsoft, IBM and Apple for control of the PC market. The Amiga computer revolutionized video, multimedia and digital art, with Andy Warhol being a big advocate. It was also known for being a fantastic video games machine. Despite the computer's manufacturer going bankrupt in early 1990's, the Amiga has a huge cult following worldwide to this day. This film documents the rise and fall of the Amiga in the marketplace, and gives an inside look at the passionate and eccentric community that surrounds it. We've got in-depth interviews with the Amiga's designers, engineers and advocates, and we'll be shooting even more. This is a compelling and unique documentary, rich with animation and a distinctive style. Viva Amiga is also being written and directed by an Amiga user - me, Zach Weddington! Without the Amiga, I seriously doubt my career in film and animation would be where it is today.

Rather than just ask for donations, we've decided to give everyone some cool stuff in return, so take a look at the great rewards we're offering at the various donation levels. These packages we're offering now at these prices will only be available to Kickstarter donators, so don't miss the chance to get this stuff and help fund the film. All donations for packages include shipping!

Your donations will enable us to complete the film. Here are some big names that we've already filmed so far:

Jeff Porter - Former Commodore Engineer - in charge of hardware development. He gave us the 500.

Dave Haynie - Former Commodore Engineer - best known for the Amiga 3000. He shot the infamous "Deathbed Vigil" video.

Bil Herd - Former Commodore Engineer, Principal Engineer on the Commodore 128 and others...

Andy Finkel - Former Commodore Engineer - software

Jason Scott - Computer Historian, Writer (, and Filmmaker (BBS - The Documentary, Get Lamp)

...and several other important Amiga journalists, scenesters and engineers too.

Oh yeah, let's not forget about the kick-ass soundtrack being composed by Amiga mod scene musician Zoë Blade!

So now...

RJ Mical, legendary video game industry pioneer, Workbench designer, and part of the original Amiga design team, has just signed on to be interviewed. We need some cash to get to Silicon Valley to shoot his segment.

Eric Schwartz, well-known Amiga animator, will appear in the film as well. He has also offered to do some special graphics for the film. You can help me pay to fly him out to our studio! You know, this guy...

We've got some shoots planned in Northern Germany and London right now, and we will use the money to get there. We feel that it is essential for Europe to be well-represented in the film, as Europeans embraced the Amiga so heavily. We could also use some camera gear of our own - all gear has been loaned to us thus far. Your money will go towards that as well.

Also, everyone is working on this film for free so far. No one expects to be paid, really, but I know for a fact that you get what you pay for. I'd like to be able to pay my talented composers, designers, animators and fact checkers for their excellent work.

There's already a lot of interest in this film. We've got 400 people signed up to pre-order it, and hundreds of fans on Facebook. We just need a little help with funding, and now you can pre-order the film to help make it happen.

Take a look at the packages we're offering. They correspond to the donation levels on the right...


You'll be listed as a patron and benefactor on, to show everyone that you've helped make this project a reality.


A copy of Viva Amiga on DVD, DVD Extras Disc, and Viva Amiga button, plus benefactor listing on


DVD, Movie Soundtrack, Extras Disc, Limited Edition Signed "Pre-Order" Poster, Viva Amiga Button, plus benefactor listing on

$100 LEVEL

DVD, Movie Soundtrack, Extras Disc, Limited Edition Signed "Pre-Order" Poster, Viva Amiga Button, a "Thank You" message in the credits, plus benefactor listing on

$150 LEVEL

DVD, Movie Soundtrack, Extras Disc, Limited Edition Signed "Pre-Order" Poster, Viva Amiga Button, a "Thank You" message in the credits. Plus a second copy of both DVD and soundtrack to give as a gift. Plus benefactor listing on

There's also a couple higher levels.

Please note we're still working on the designs to make them even more fun. They may change slightly.

We've set a goal of $25,000 for pre-orders/donations, but honestly that is the bare minimum we need to pull this off. I'd love to see it soar much, much higher. The more donations and/or pre-orders we receive, the better the film will be. You have no idea of the costs we will encounter - travel fees, lab/post-production costs, legal fees... it goes on and on. Please help!

Let's make Amiga dreams come true together! I want to make this film as awesome as it can possibly be...we owe it to the Amiga!

Viva Amiga!

Jim Scabery Commodore Dealer

Jim Scabery, Portland, Oregon's last Commodore dealer, wishes to apologize for his not fulfilling orders in a timely manner since December. Due to serious health issues that he and his wife are having, Commodore and Amiga does not take precedence. This situation will not change in the future.

And Further due to serious health issues, Jim Scabery, Portland, Oregon's last Commodore/Amiga dealer, is looking for a buyer to purchase the hardware and software sides of his business.

Contact Jim at Comm-Jim(at)

If you wish to contact him by phone, send me a message.

Robert Bernardo
Fresno Commodore User Group

On April 3, 2010, I wrote:

[He] is having a close-out on Commodore chips and fuses. To see the complete list, prices, and contact information, go to

On April 21, 2010 6:02 pm, I wrote:

[He] is having a close-out on Commodore/Amiga books and VIC-20 software. To see the Commodore/Amiga book list, prices, and contact information, go to

To see the VIC-20 software list, prices, and contact information, go to

On Sept. 24, 2010, I wrote:

[He] is having a close-out on Commodore and Amiga software. To see the listing of Commodore software, go to (titles A to C) (titles D to G) (titles H to L) (titles M to P) (titles Q to S) (titles T to Z)

To see the listing of Amiga software, go to (titles A to F) (titles G to P) (titles Q to Z)

Advanced Commodore Environment 128

A demo of ACE128 has been uploaded to YouTube ACE128 is (Advanced Commodore Environment 128). The team working on ACE128 has the following members: Miroslav Karkuš, Josef Prokeš, Dirk Vroomen, Patrick Hammes and Jason Lapp. At the moment the team is searching for someone to check the English spelling and a musician for making system sounds. They YouTube demo shows the Operating system booting up and opening a notepad document with some text in.

CardSwipe - An Original Game for the VIC-20

* Requires 32K VIC-20

CardSwipe is a game of skill where you must collect one of each card (Ace, King, Queen, and Jack). The first person to collect all four cards wins. 4 people can play at once. The winner's score is displayed at the end. The scores are calculated based on the colour of the cards in your tray. Black is worth more than Red, which is worth more than Green, which is worth more than Blue.

* There is no AI in this initial version.

Snapshoter Updated

Snapshoter for AmigaOS 3/4, MorphOS, AROS, and Windows is updated to version 1.3.5

A lot of bugs fixed, and new features added, improved speed in the clipboard bar, removed some nasty bugs, added support for square brackets (text), added support for copy image directly from web browser, improved multi drag ´n drop function, print screen directly stores in the clipboard bar, key printscr autostore the desktop in the clipboard, now is not needed call it snapshoter.exe....


Download here:

Jose Makes Music with MSSIAH

Here is the YouTube note

This is what happens when Jose plugs the C64 into the socket and starts to make sounds with MSSIAH midi cartridge. (for those going to use the same cartridge, Never plug it or disconnect with the power On!!) This is a Commodore 64 ALDI limited version. Sold for German market with internal 8580 SID chip.

If anyone's wondering where I am from (due to my accent) I am Spanish.

Mono synthesizer demonstration. Playing DM "Shake the Disease" excerpt (hard to do with a monophonic synth if you want to play with two hands). Also "Popcorn".

Greetings to Vince Clarke at the video's end. :-)

EDITOR: See someone else likes Vince Clarke, I did see a recent Q n A session with Vince where he does state he never owned a Commodore 64; so I guess that closes that book then.

CBM PRG Studio Beta Version 0.3.0 Released

17th March 2011 - CBM prg Studio Beta Version 0.3.0 released. If you've come looking for C64PrgGen or VIC20PrgGen they are still available.

Note: C64PrgGen and VIC20PrgGen are no longer being developed, but they will be supported for the time being.

What Is It?

CBM prg Studio allows you to type a BASIC or machine code program in using a nice Windows environment and convert it to a '.prg' file which you can run on an emulator, or even a real C64 or VIC20 if you're feeling brave and have the right kit.

CBM prg Studio is the result of merging C64PrgGen and VIC20PrgGen. Adding new features and fixing bugs in two apps which were 95% similar was a bit of a nightmare so merging them made sense. It was also a good opportunity for a face lift and to add some new features, such as:

What CBM prg Studio isn't is a front-end for tok64, cbmcnvrt, bastext or any other tokeniser/detokeniser/assembler. It's all been written completely from scratch.

Follow the download link for more details.


System Requirements:


Computer with a Pentium III-class processor, 600 MHz, Recommended: 1 gigahertz (GHz)


192 MB, 256 Recommended

Operating System

Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista, Windows 7, .NET 2.0 and Service Pack 1


800 x 600, 256 colours.

Recommended: 1024 x 768, High Colour 16-bit

DirMaster v2.2/Style

DirMaster is a Windows-based GUI tool useful for the management of common (and uncommon) emulator formats (such as .d64, .d81, .t64, etc) as well as native archival formats (such as .arc, .sda, .lnx, etc).

New in this version:

New Features

Several bugs reported by users were fixed in this version.

Very cool piece of software this, very professional in look and function

CBM-Command V2.0: Updated

CBM-Command is a disk manager for the Commodore 64 / Commodore 128 / Commodore VIC20 and Commodore C16 computers.

The software has been written like Norton Commander or Midnight Commander, but is much simpler due to the target platforms.

Both the C128/C64/VIC20/C16 have their own native version of the application.

Changes are:

X1000 Nemo Rev. 2 Motherboard in Production

With the production of AmigaOne X1000 Beta test boards in progress, A-EON technology is pleased to release schematics of the final revision 2 Nemo motherboard layout. In true "Amiga tradition" the lead designers have added their signatures to the Nemo motherboard. We are also pleased to reveal details of the upgraded XENA subsystem featuring a 500MHz, dual-core XS1-L2 XMOS chip. Please check out the latest images of the revision 2 Nemo and XENA schematics in the Media gallery on the A-EON Technology website.

Commodore 64 SID 8580 Basic Sample Pack

littlescale has a collection of samples at pitches from c2 to g6 from the Commodore 64 main waveforms the samples were recorded using custom hardware

Download the uncompressed sample pack here (WAV / 44.1 KHz / mono)

Download the compressed sample pack here (MP3 / 192 Kbps / mono)

If you like this sample pack, you might also be interested in some of the following sample packs (all recorded from hardware using custom designed interfaces):

C64 SID Phase Accumulator And FPGA Tuning

Jeri Ellsworth explains the phase accumulators in the c64 SID sound chip in this video. This technique was used in many early synthesizers and sound chips. Jeri Ellsworth is best known for the creation of the C64 DTV, the all in one Commodore 64 joystick emulator she created in 2004. She is also responsible for designing the FPGA chip of the C-One

And also

She Use an FPGA chip to tune a secondary SID chip giving the Commodore 64 a pseudo stereo effect. The demo shows ordinary chip tunes played as if they were stereo.

Arcade Retro Gaming Newsletter

Hi guys,

The 2011 Midwest Gaming Classic was quite the event! While not all the numbers are in yet, we're certain that we had the best turnout that we've ever had! We’d like to thank you all for making it such a great success!

What’s new this month?

1. New ATARI 2600 Joystick for the Multiple Classic Computer

We just added the classic ATARI 2600 Joystick to our product portfolio.

The perfect accessory to enjoy the ATARI 2600 on the Multiple Classic Computer.

Get back to the 70s and plug the Multiple Classic Computer in your TV.

Durable Joystick with 4 directions and fire button.

Compatible with ATARI 2600 game console, C64, AMIGA and the Multiple Classic Computer.

2. MCC-216 PONG Limited Edition with 255+ C64 games

NEW product in our Online Store with original ATARI 2600 Joystick!

The MCC-216 Pong Limited Edition is for all C64 fans who like to get more exiting games.

This bundle ships now with more than 255+ C64 games and the ATARI 2600 core.

Do you miss your C64 and ATARI 2600?

How about 255+ C64 games on one system?

This bundle is the answer for you.

Please check out our online store for more details:



3. AMIGA presented at the Midwest Gaming Classic

We proudly presented our AMIGA 500 implementation at the Midwest Gaming Classic show last weekend and generated a big hype.

The AMIGA 500 implementation comes with a game menu, demo menu and a user menu similar to our C64 core. Each menu supports up to 10000 entries. With the user menu you are able to mount up to 4 virtual disks into the emulated DF0-DF3 drives.

The system ships with 85 A500 games and 28 A500 demos.

Our bundle includes the AMIGA Forever CD for your PC which allows you to add additional content to your Multiple Classic Computer.

4. BLOG for the Multiple Classic Computer, Retro Gamer and Arcade Fan

Arcade Retro Gaming is proud to present you your own forum. If you are a Retro Gamer, Arcade Fan or Multiple Classic Computer user – you’ll enjoy it.

Now you can add your own feature whish list for the AMIGA implementation.

Don’t miss out to sign up and start blogging.

At you can chat with friends, post your fun experience with the MCC and classic games, ask technical questions, join the growing development community, check the schedule for retro gaming events, post your own setup and your classic computer selection, talk about retro games and development, sell/buy/trade and much, much more.

Don’t miss out on this and SIGN UP today on our BLOG home page.

Interview With Adrian Simpson

Webmaster of Amiga Games That Weren't (aGTW).

Q. Please introduce yourself to our readers

My name is Adrian Simpson and I'm the webmaster of Amiga Games That Weren't (aGTW). I'm also involved in some other Amiga projects, including the Hall of Light Amiga database, the English Amiga Board forum and Amiga Point of View PDF magazine.

Q. When did you first start your fascination with Computers and Commodore

My computer history is a fairly common progression, starting in the 8-bit era and moving to the Amiga and then the PC. I actually graduated to the Amiga a few years after it was released around the time of the A500 Screen Gems pack. This pack brought together some mediocre games like Days of Thunder, Back to the Future 2 and Nightbreed: The Interactive Movie. It did include Shadow of the Beast 2 which showcased jaw-dropping graphics and sound, even if it was lacking in the gameplay department.

Q. So when you say 8-bit machines; Did you progress from the C64 to the Amiga

No, I'm afraid that I had a 48K Spectrum!

Q. What in your opinion was special about the Amiga

It was technically before its time, which helped cement its position for a number of years until other computers caught up. It wasn't as boring as a PC or as restricted as a console. It was an adaptable platform. For example, one day you might be playing a game or playing music modules and the next day you'd be 3D modelling or using a paint package. The Amiga even had speech synthesis built in. It was an exciting computer!

Q. Can you explain the concept of Welcome to Amiga Games That Weren't

aGTW aims to find out more about Amiga games which were never released. I try to interview as many of the people involved as possible and sometimes this is all that can be done. For example, nearly everything relating to the game Fantastic Island was lost in a hard disk crash. In this case there isn't much to uncover.

In other cases, such as Siege On London or Fatal Noise, there are incomplete versions of a game that are enough to get an idea of what the game was going to be like.

The ultimate aim of the website is to uncover full games but to avoid disappointment it's best to aim for an interview and accept anything else as a bonus.

Q. when did the site start, why did it start what was the motivation and who currently maintains the website

Frank Gasking had created a website called Games That Weren't which concerns unreleased Commodore 64 games. An Amiga version had been discussed on the English Amiga Board but the project was eventually abandoned. I hadn't been involved until this point but I spoke to Frank Gasking and received his blessing to create a new website from scratch.

At the moment I'm running the website myself but in the past I've had some assistance in finding individual games.

Q. How do you find the missing games

There is an initial period of research to learn about a game. After this I try to contact the developers directly to ask them for more information and to see if they'd like to participate in an interview.

Locating the developers is often a very time consuming and discouraging task, and sometimes involves some trial and error when there are several people with the same name. Even if I do manage to find the correct person; I sometimes receive no reply or an initial response; but then nothing after that. However, as can be seen from the website, there are plenty of kind souls who have answered my questions.

Old Amiga magazines are a good source of information since unreleased games will often have been previewed if not reviewed. Occasionally there are demos of unreleased games on coverdisks. Sometimes early versions of the games have been available on the internet for years.

Q. There must be a top 5 of games you know where almost finished can you list them, and maybe the top 5 games you have found

It would have been good to see the following almost complete games: Putty Squad, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Babylonian Twins, Hardcore and Universal Monsters.

The following full games have all been featured on the site, although the first three were not located by me: Snow Bros, Liquid Kids, No Buddies Land, Son Shu Shi and Hostile Breed.

Q. I would like to know the worst game you have found, or do you feel it would be better not to say

I had originally considered scoring each game on the site but I thought that was unfair to the developers, considering that many of the games are in an early stage of development and not in a state that they would have wanted them released and rated.

I look at the games in a more positive light than I might otherwise have. The site's about the story behind the development rather than the quality of the game.

Q. How many games do you find that are virtually finished; lets say 99% so apart from some tweaks and testing they would be ready to go (as it were)

It's uncommon to locate complete or almost complete commercial games but finding these is the holy grail of the project. When publishers like Palace went bust they often left a number of unreleased commercial games so it is possible to find them.

Q. What is the more usual way you receive a game, do you get the code and test data or just the game as it is warts and all

I'll often receive early executable engines with missing features as these will have been produced throughout the development process. Magazine demos are a good source of unreleased games. Sometimes an artist has sheets of sprites or tiles because they tend to retain examples of their work, unless a hard disk crash obliterates them.

Q. are the games owners open to you putting up the games for download

Yes, they are usually happy for the games to go online. The website is non-commercial and advert-free so they can see that I'm not profiteering from their work.

Sometimes there is a reluctance to even do an interview about unreleased games. A common reason for this is that the game's developer is releasing a new version on a modern platform and doesn't want potential buyers to find a crusty old Amiga game instead of the new game! Often an unreleased game can represent a low period in someone's career, when things didn't go well, so it's understandable if they just want to forget it.

Q. Has anyone said "hey we own the copyright please remove this from the website"

No, that has never happened. I do seek permission from the developers and copyright holders, where possible. Often the companies no longer exist, which makes it more difficult.

Q. What format are the games in when downloaded from the website and how can you run them on real hardware

Normally the site uses ADFs (Amiga Disk Format) which is a standard implementation of a floppy disk in a file.

When a disk has a copy protection mechanism I'll use the IPF (Interchangeable Preservation Format) which was created by the Software Preservation Society (SPS). Unlike ADFs, IPFs store the deeper disk protection. Istvan at the SPS is a disk guru so he's a great person to turn to for help.

The third common release type is a WHDLoad install. This is a superb tool which facilitates the installation of a game on hard disk, a feature that was missing in some Amiga games.

All three types can be run in an Amiga emulator such as WinUAE. On a real Amiga ADFs can be transferred to floppy disk. WHDLoad installs are made for real Amigas so they can be easily used on the actual hardware.

Q. I presume some of the games production was stopped to move to other platforms, do you think that some of the almost finished games could have actually (if finished of) made the publishers money

Publishers may have made profits but it would have depended on the game. There were numerous reasons for a publisher not releasing a game; the type of game may not have fitted in with the gaming market at that time, the game may not have been good enough (though that didn't normally stop publishers!) or licence negotiations on a ported game may have fallen through. In some cases the decision to not release a game seems unfathomable.

Q. Do you think that the publishers should have tried the Public domain route for some of the finished games, with a cut-down version for pd with the option to buy an unlock code for 10 pounds or some other small amount

I don't think that shareware games were very lucrative on the Amiga, so it probably wouldn't have worked very well. The model wasn't very efficient and relied on gamers posting cheques or cash payments, which probably didn't happen very often. Today it's much easier to make payments online or to buy indie games.

The full version of flight simulator TFX appeared on a CU Amiga cover CD, so presumably there was some sort of deal where Ocean received income for this previously unreleased game. In normal cases the game just disappeared.

Q. Has a publisher asked for money to release the game to you

No, thankfully not! I mostly deal with individuals anyway.

Q. Has anyone come to you and asked you to market a game, if not would you consider marketing a more finished game

No, the site's not really suitable for full-on marketing and the featured games are usually way past their sell-by date. However, if a developer was releasing a new game based on a old Amiga title or generally wanted a bit of publicity through their old games, then perhaps the site would be one way to increase awareness. Retrogamers usually do play modern games too so there is a small opportunity there.

Q. I know there are numerous reasons why Games were not finished can you tell our reader what the number 1 reason is

There are a variety of reasons for a game's non-publication, including technical problems and issues within the development team. If pushed to suggest one most common reason I'd probably put the blame on the publishers but then again the development side of things might have caused serious headaches for the publisher. In the defence of publishers, it's easy for programmers to get carried away with their vision and to overload a game with so many ideas that it is never finished.

Q. someone maybe reading this with a game or part of a game that wasn’t finished what should they do touch get in touch with you

Just visit the Contact page of the website ( ) and send me an email.

Q. How active is the Amiga games industry, as you know I follow mainly the 8- bit systems like the VIC and c64

The Amiga is dead as a commercial platform although some brave souls do still release games. Since Commodore went bust there has been a complex and tedious power struggle for what was left of the Amiga hardware and operating system. The idea of new "Amigas" being released doesn't make a lot of sense to me since they would be simply be PC clones with the Amiga name stuck on them. The Amiga was of its time and that time has passed, so any new "Amigas" will fail to incorporate what was great about it in the first place.

However, the Amiga scene is active with some interesting projects, like the Software Preservation Society. There are still plenty of old games to discover and not just unreleased ones. Emulators such as WinUAE and programs such as WHDLoad remove some of the limitations of Amiga gaming and allow us to delve into Amiga gaming history.

Q. Ok imagine this; You have a team and can develop any game for the Amiga, what do you think you would design, assuming unlimited time and funding

It would have to be something retro and suited to the Amiga's strengths. For example, I wouldn't create a texture-mapped 3D first-person shooter but rather a filled 3D virtual world game like Hunter or a story-based 3D game like Wings. It would be interesting to work through all the different genres and create the perfect Amiga game for each one.

Q. Finally do you have any other comments?

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about Amiga Games That Weren't and please do get in touch if you have any information about unreleased Amiga games or if you'd like to help.

Commodore Programming

By John Fielden

Hu-Array for a change: A bit on The Amiga

Commodore free magazine incorporates all things Commodore. So, in these programming pages it would I thought, be nice to see something else covered other than the c16/+4; though the beginner could not find a better place to begin learning BASIC, or programming for that matter being complete with its own built in Assembly language monitor. And while able to use PEEKs and POKEs isn't quite so heavily dependent on them which would put many a Maths phobe like myself almost completely off the mere thought of "prog'ing". So we will definitely be keeping the c16/+4 as the main focus for learning and expanding our programming knowledge. But it is with expanding those skills in mind that I wanted to look -briefly at least- at something more than the initial way of doing things and see what experiment and innovation brought to the table in later though still early computing times.

The 3.5 BASIC in The c16/+4's was an advance on BASIC 2.0 in the c64's. While the 128's boasted the best BASIC of all the 8bit computers. Then of course the new way/s of doing things started breaking through with 16 bit developments. What better place to look then than at the early Amigas? The start of the new way of doing things, and much is relevant to today. Line numbers are gone, Windows need creating before anything can be done, though AmigaBasic provided the initial one; the programmer could create more. Speech became possible adding a whole new dimension to educational programmes like Learning Languages.

Having said all this; the package supplied on the Amiga left the programmer less memory to play with than the c64's! Some 25k in all. And while this could be expanded with a simple command -provided you had the room to expand it to- it was still quite risky in that going beyond about 60 or 70k meant the machine was highly susceptible to crashing. Even the emulator is today!

(nb: Should some things be copied exactly??).

A point that put me off taking this up on a regular basis for these pages. Though the many additions to the language mean that it is relatively easy to load programs in. Why bother? Try the new Microsoft baby .net; All Commodores BASIC was written by the same company, and while lately Microsoft seem to be veering away from their roots, there was still much similarity in the early .nets probably for the sake of backwards compatibility, and to not scare the traditional enthusiast off.

So to the programming

For the moment, lets keep on looking at Nothing! Remember a universal bind of all computers is they flatly refuse to continue working if they come across a division by zero. So lets look to correct this. Notice you don't need line numbering on The Amiga, and explanation are given in {these brackets, not (these) ones!} -Don't type the explanations!!!

REM *div by zer0*                 {always give a title}

ON ERROR GOTO err.check           {like the Trap(x) command in c16/+4
                                  BASIC. But where x is a number, here we
                                  have a name of a SUB-Program}

PRINT"fourty divided by zero equals";40/0
PRINT c                           {realising these are error #11 in the manual.
                                  The computer remembers the above
                                  command to look in the place listed as
                                  err.check  for each of these statements.}

calc:                             {The alternative to line numbers. A list
                                  marker is used like thus for anything that
                                  might need to be recalled later. In this case
                                  it is just an example.}
PRINT d                           {essentially the same thing. But a different
                                  number to divide zero by for the sake of
                                  thoroughness in the testing.}

END                               {You don't need me to tell you what this
                                  does by now! The programming pages
                                  have been around on and off since Iss#28}

err.check:                        {as x=calc:  always include the colon!}
RESUME NEXT                       {once remedy found for corresponding
                                  error. continue/resume at NEXT command

A cornerstone of good programming practice is using conditions in the best, most logical way for the task at hand. We've looked at the difference with Error Trapping/checking and noticed that IF condition, had it not been a division by zero at hand the program would've just resumed at the next statement. So a full program would want to stop and list the error number to make the whole thing easier to debug. Try adding PRINT ERR before the resume statement. You might be surprised at what you find when you run the program.

The explanation is that while we haven't always asked to print the sum, in performing the sum even for memory tasks the action has result in the division by zero. So the program checks the space set aside for error checking and finds that it has to print a zero to the screen. The question remains how would a programmer ensure in a more complex calculation where variables are unknown and the result might be a division by zero; how to cope?

The answer is another on error statement stating that 'c' (or whatever the holding variable may be named as in the SUB-program) shall equal 0 on such an occurrence, or for that matter whatever the programmer wanted to do on such an occurrence.

Enough of talking about nothing. We move on now to condition handling with user input.

REM *conditions conditions*

PRINT"continue Y/N?"          {usually these things start with a question}

cndn:                         {a reference is necessary in case of a
                              pressed key that makes no sense to the
                              question at hand/}

a$=inkey$                     {do you notice any difference from the c16?
                              how do you mean NO!}
REM ***a$=ucase$(a$)
IF a$="y" THEN a
IF a$="n" then b
goto cndn                     {it is unwritten but implied that a$ or the
                              keypressed was none of the above. So this
                              condition covers such an event.}
PRINT" You pressed 'y' key"


In the above program, if you press 'y' your told you did. If you press 'n' your not told anything. In both cases the program ends by showing you its listing. If you pressed anything else the program goes back to reset the key prompt.

It's worth noting that if you want to use the "UCASE$" statement; you must not only take out the REM ***, but also change 'y' and 'n' in the IF statements to capital letters, or nothing will happen.

I spoke briefly on memory. It was upsetting to find these limitations and I haven't as yet found anything clear as to what the safe maximums are. There is the STACK size to consider as well as the memory. Still once you find a safe stack size, it still isn't recommendable to go beyond 90k. With the standard stack, memory.

The command is:

CLEAR , 65536   {for 64 k of RAM. The sum is: 1024*64}

The comma seems mandatory. Adding a comma after the first number alters the STACK. Leaving blank keeps the default.

To know how much memory there is left at any given time the format remains


Although now there is much more to know on this. I won't be covering it here. Consult the manuals! Try,


Though conditions are the cornerstone of user interaction, before we get to the user we have to set up the memory so that there is enough space to hold what the user needs to do. And to cover every possible eventuality takes good planning. The cornerstone of this is Arrays. HU-Array for Arrays!

The main books that I sought for suitable programs are:

So far I haven't used anything specific from the books, though I did look to see "Why doesn't GETA$, or GETKEYA$ work?", and to check on new forms of things like how error trapping and so on goes on Workbench version 1.3. The abbreviations for the books in order are. 1 "wbs..." followed by page number. "Adv..." as before and simply "A500 manual.." etc. Though the actual manual is a different thing concerned more with the workbench and DOS. This has not been referenced.

The following program sets up a useful Database for a book collection.

REM *Pg.109 of SWB. Arrays*

INPUT"How many Cases";cases
INPUT"How many Shelves on each case";shelves
INPUT"How many Modules per shelf";modules
DIM book$(cases,shelves,modules)    {note: Whole words
                                    can be used as variables. The two
                                    letter limit is no longer.}
FOR c=1 TO cases
FOR s=1 TO shelves
FOR m=1 TO modules

PRINT"What book is in case";c;
INPUT book$(c,s,m)

CLS:                                {CLear the Screen}
INPUT"Which book to find";title$

FOR c=1 TO cases
FOR s=1 TO shelves
FOR m=1 TO modules
IF book$(c,s,m)=title$ THEN GOSUB :flag=1
NEXT m,s,c                          {as legal as 3 NEXT statements.}
IF flag=0 THEN PRINT" Title not found" :GOTO Another
PRINT title$;" is in case ";c;" shelf ";s;
PRINT" Module ";m

PRINT :PRINT :flag=0
PRINT" Find another book Y/N?"

an$=INPUT$(1)                       {Where "INKEY$" is to "GETA$". This is
                                    like "GETKEYA$" in that it waits for user
                                    to respond.}

The above program could be expanded to load/save and edit the data, adding/deleting books as required. Also a list could be drawn of shelves, cases or even modules. The program demonstrates that little seems to have change with Arrays. And while the same ideas were employed, a lot has been added: there are now more variables. There's another way to use IF/THEN/ ELSE requiring an "END IF" to be declared, however all this will wait for another time. In the meantime, as we've been comparing the new and the old, I will leave you with The Key. That is to say using FuNction Keys as user response in programs. chr$ finder will help you find their codes.

REM *chr$ finder -Amiga: wbs266*
PRINT" Hit a key ('ESC' to Exit)"
PRINT"The ASCII value of ";key$;" is ";ASC(key$)

I must've been reading code too long, as that all seems self explanatory. You will know what it does/they do when you type in and run it/them. The last line is saying "if the user presses escape key then end, otherwise goto the sub-program named ''.

Do you know what? After all that I'm missing the c16/+4. It's like I'm not Functioning or something! So here goes.

Listing of: TheKey.prg
20 KEY1,CHR$(133)  :REM *Reset all keys to listed code, or they won't work*
30 KEY3,CHR$(134)
40 KEY5,CHR$(135)
50 KEY7,CHR$(136)
60 KEY2,CHR$(137)
70 KEY4,CHR$(138)
80 KEY6,CHR$(139)
90 KEY8,CHR$(140)
1055 X=X+1
1060 GET A$
1070 IFA$=CHR$(133) THENGOSUB 1160
1080 IFA$=CHR$(134) THENGOSUB 1180
1090 IFA$=CHR$(135) THENGOSUB 1200
1100 IFA$=CHR$(136) THENGOSUB 1220
1110 IFA$=CHR$(137) THENGOSUB 1240
1120 IFA$=CHR$(138) THENGOSUB 1260
1130 IFA$=CHR$(139) THENGOSUB 1280
1140 IFA$=CHR$(140) THENGOSUB 1300
1150 GOTO1060
1160 PRINT" F1"
1170 GOTO1290
1180 PRINT" F3"
1190 GOTO1290
1200 PRINT" F5"
1210 GOTO1290
1220 PRINT" F7"
1230 GOTO1290
1240 PRINT" F2"
1250 GOTO1290
1260 PRINT" F4"
1270 GOTO1290
1280 PRINT" F6"
1320 PRINT
1340 FORJ=1TO8
1350 KEYJ,CHR$(132+J)
1360 NEXTJ
1370 IFX<2THEN1055

"What! This far and no jokes!" I hear you cry.

...The joke was some-one only saw fit to allow 25k of RAM for BASIC, that there was no compiler with the package and the whole thing was eventually dropped making programming a privilege for a lucky few relatively speaking.

For instance

1. As a child not holding the purse strings, and with family not interested or only interested in games. I would not have discovered this love. Nor would well meaning parent/s have known where to look, assuming they could've been bothered!

2. without access to the net I would not have had a clue of the modern goings on with programming. From the Amiga "C" was an Alien concept, I didn't have a clue from the odd magazine snippet that came my way. As for how to set myself up as a programmer ..."pff." Forget it! (How do you mean 'some things don't change!' ???).

The whole thing was not only daunting, but like an elite club that you had to come from an educated family. And we sit and wonder why children are growing up video game zombies! Well, some-ones brain cell loss is some-one else’s financial gain. I wonder if Microsoft or any DOS company will ever set up a BASIC package as standard with at least one Introduction book and manual, like in the days of the c16's. With reference to how to continue to build on the hobby for those who chose to take it up. Even though I was too young to be taken seriously by the shop assistant. Unfortunately, the way things are the Art is being lost as those who take it up realise there's money in it. So it's a business requiring formal education and the days of being self taught seem to be vanishing somewhat. Not least because everything has been made so complicated.

So, it's nice to look at the old days and keep in mind that civilised era. So with that in mind I dare still say it.

Happy Prog'ing
From John Fielden

Sideways SEUCK Compo Entries 2011

Missile Madness [2011]


Code: Chris Yates /Jon Wells
Music: Richard of Blazon, Scene World Magazine, The New Dimension
Graphics: Alf Yngve
Design: Alf Yngve
Idea: Alf Yngve

Entry #2
Name of game: Missile Madness
Author: Alf Yngve
Musician: Richard Bayliss
No of players: 1 player only


It's nuclear war.

You are an Air Force captain, in charge of one of our country's many missile defence bases.

You must guide the surface-to-air missiles (SAM) to shoot down incoming enemy warheads, missiles and bombers.

Using the joystick or keyboard, you can aim up, sideways and diagonally. Do not waste missiles -- aim carefully.

Every time an enemy warhead strikes the ground, it will generate lethal radioactive fallout which may damage your base.

Each time you take damage, one part of the city will become defenceless and take damage as well.

This game has two levels. Pass both levels and we'll win the war. Good luck, Captain!


Entered for the Sidways SEUCK (shoot em up Competition 2011 This Alf Yngve game emerges. Currently only 1 of 2 games entered for the completion, the next game is reviewed after this one

The game titled MISSILE MADNESS certainly wont excite graphically or even sonically, the graphics and sound can be classed in the functional department, with rings and explosions for sound and very minimal graphics, However not all games need sonically brilliant and graphically complex eye candy, so lets see what the game has to offer.

A minimal title screens opens the game

With a joystick clasped in my greasy hand; I clicked the button to continue the game

The screen clears and a message shows an ALERT status this flashes and then the game starts

You could class this as a variation on missile command, you have a moving base with an arrow over the top the arrow shows the direction you will file in

Firing left, up and right

Yep it works diagonally but you get the idea here

Various targets fly over head and you can move the ship left and right to align yourself in a position to shoot down the enemy if an enemies shot hits the ground it generates lethal radiation that can travel across the ground and hit your base

The main screen shows scoring and number of enemies you have hit

There does seem to be some graphical corruption problems but I presume this really is more down to the SUECK engine rather than anything else, when lots of things are happening on screen the game does slow down quite considerably. Also hitting various enemy craft produces symbols to appear things like B and X I presume these are some form of bonus’s but am unsure what they are supposed to do. The main problem is the users ship can only move left and right and not forward and back in a 3d type environment, this makes the game to hard in my opinion as you are unable to move at times because things are moving along the ground towards you

The tape version does feature a nice loading screen

It’s a great idea but would be better implemented as program in its own right rather than the limitations of the SEUCK system



Code: Chris Yates / Jon Wells
Music: Richard of Blazon, Scene World Magazine, The New Dimension
Graphics: Anthony
Design: Anthony


Disclaimer: This game is a pastiche of the “hentai” game genre (in particular, of the game “Lady Killer”), but features no actual nudity or explicit content.

Story: The near future – One evening, while cruising the seedier regions of the World Wide Web, a lonely programming genius finds that his hard drive has been invaded by an swarm of sentient computer viruses. These mutated malware, having been created by cyber-terrorists, are now fleeing from a counter-attack by NATO’s computer experts, and are looking for a computer on which to lie low and devise a devastating comeback.

In order to save the whole IT infrastructure of the free world from obliteration, not to mention his own personal collection of “gentlemen’s literature”, the programmer has engineered two anti-virus programs to infiltrate the infected hard drive and wipe out the viruses while they are still relatively weak.

Port One controls the Guard, which has a somewhat slow and cumbersome avatar, but is equipped with a powerful long-range attack.

Port Two controls the Reaper, which has a comparatively weak, short-range attack, but a faster avatar.

The longer that your chosen anti-virus program is active, the more damage will be inflicted upon the virtual environments the viruses have created. The environments take the form of 8x5 grids of tiles, which will show increasing signs of wear and tear (Cracks, crumbling, or rust patches). When a tile starts to appear heavily damaged, it is 12 seconds from disintegrating completely.

However, since the infiltration programs are specifically engineered to operate within the domain of the viruses, they must keep to the tiles, and avoid hanging around on heavily damaged tiles (though sometimes they will have no option).

In an attempt to defend their new hideout from destruction, the viruses will try to erase your avatar(s). They take many forms …

Enemy Guide:

Creepers: Slow and weak, but beware of the glitching cursors they fire (always in the direction they are facing).

Love Letters: Also slow and weak, but they have a dangerous random-firing attack.

Vampires: The only enemy capable of traversing gaps in the tiles. They randomly fire cursors, and require two hits to erase.

Ninjas: They can only attack short-range, but are dangerous on account of their speed and their ability to assume temporary invisibility (during which, only their sword-slashes indicate their position).

Nazis: Similar to the Creepers, but with a faster attack, a greater range of movement, and requiring two hits to erase.

Mail Bombs: When the envelope opens, explosive shockwaves will blast out in four directions. Destroy quickly, or stand well clear ….


Blaster Worm, Trojan Horse, and Melissa.

Collect software discs for high bonus points.

Commodore Free Review

Another game for the SEUCK competition

After a brief loading screen with the customary Colour roll (although its green so and yellow maybe that’s Green roll or green roll and cheese .. oh at this point I am giving up on the screen description)

We now have 2 options

1 to control the guard with slow speed and long range and the other to control the reaper who is fast and shoots short range

Again the Tape version of the game has a loading screen and the usual flashing borders and scrolly messages

Ok with the game loaded lets go with option 2

The game doesn’t have music but does have sounds made from SEUCK the usual twangs and squelches; although to be fair they do match the game really well,

So you are running around trying to beat off the computer virus by firing at the small viri (hopefully this is plural for virus) as each wave relentlessly attacks you have to use all your skill (well move the joystick around anyway) and destroy these monsters, as each wave attacks a small break in the action occurs then some of the area of the screen starts to be destroyed, as this breaks down a small square of a picture starts to appear these picture squares prevent your man from going into that area so as they grow the places you can move become less and less

As this level is played the picture starts to build

Then you have some different aliens to conquer

As the picture is finalised a symbol appears with the words GO to advance to the next stage of the game, you need to be out of the picture squares before the picture is finished otherwise you will die,

Its actually not a bad game,

As you move to the next level you move off the screen to the left and the screen scrolls left to right

The second part of the game has different baddies to kill off one of which is a knight that fades into the background, (my personal favourite) its just another example of the attention to detail that I liked so much in this game, and of course there is another end level guardian to attack this time a horse, sadly my skills fell apart here, the stress and sweat from playing with my joystick took its toll, and I don’t seem to be able to progress further.

Not a bad effort (hmm I think I have said this before) really quite playable

Just for the record as it were here I am pretending I am doing well with the knight (option2) actually I seem to be worse playing with this character

well thought out although its difficult for me to play personally, But does have a “just one more go” as with all things SEUCK its about learning the patterns of the movements of the aliens, and as I cant remember them then I fail very badly, the game again suffers from some glitches but doesn’t seem as noticeable as some SEUCK games.

Sudoku Game Review

By Commodore Free

Credits :

Code: Hamar of Falcon soft
Design: Hamar of Falcon soft

Downloaded from


Sudoku is a Japanese game played on a board with a 3x3 grids arranged into sets of 3 some of the grids are filled with numbers, the idea of the game is to fill all the grids with the numbers 1 to 9 so that no number in the row or Colum is repeated and only 1 of the number 1 to 9 can be used in each 3x3 grid in the adjacent other outer grids, hmmmmm didn’t do to well there did I.

Over time this basic game has increased in sizes and also the complexity, for example the complexity can be increased my eliminating more and more of the starting numbers.

Although other Sudoku games have appeared on the Commodore 64 this one caught my eye mainly for its simplicity and minimal layout. And of course it’s easy to use.

Starting the game

Brings the user to the settings menu here he can choose from

The game is played using the cursor keys and the Enter key to confirm so as we are on the Start game we just need to press Enter to start the games next menu the level selection here we can choose from

Choosing easy then the game starts with a random layout of numbers already assigned you move around with the cursor keys and once into a position you can press a number from 1 to 9 to assign it to the square, once you are happy that you have all the numbers correctly assigned


Well it was a battle but I finally finished and easy one, on completion the game randomly flashes the tiles in multicolour’s until the enter key is pressed and then you are as a player taken back to the main menu. Of course because I am reviewing I took longer on completing each game (smile)


The editor menu allows the user to design their own layout to play and shows a blank grid where numbers can be laid out, surprisingly the editor also has some logic built in so that its only possible to actually create solvable games; checking no lines contain the same number etc as in the main game. This is brilliant.


The downsides to the game for me is you don’t seem to be able to save your Editor or designed games for later play if you can I couldn’t figure out how. And some way to extend the grid to a larger size for even more complex puzzles for example the time could be moved to the top and the puzzle could be extended to the right or even 2 puzzles side by side, of course this isn’t sticking to the true layout of the game, so maybe this was the intention from the author.

Other than that a good effort and really enjoyable, well assuming you like Sudoku that is, if you don’t then why read the review

On the Road

The SC3 Arcade Party 2011

By Robert Bernardo

It was just after 8 p.m. Friday night when I arrived at the Knight’s Inn in Rosemead, California. I was going to another event, the SC3 Arcade Party to be held the next day, March 5, in nearby Alhambra. It had been quite awhile since the last party, but now the event was going to be held in a new venue, the Nucleus Art Gallery on Main Street. SC3 Arcade Party co-organizer, Geoff Voight, was expecting me to bring Commodore and Amiga items for the attendees to play, and not knowing the new venue, I brought everything necessary – a C64, 1541 disk drives, 1701 monitor, Super Snapshot v5 cartridges, game disks, joysticks, cables and power supplies (bringing an extra one was only prudent), Amiga 500, external 1010 disk drive, Magnavox monitor, mouse, cables and power supplies.

Everything except game disks for the Amiga! Oh-oh, I had left the other boxes of disks at school. I scoured the inside of the 1988 Mercury Colony Park station wagon I was using. I found only one game, “Space Cutter”. I’d have to e-mail my Los Angeles friends and ask them to bring their Amiga game disks… that is, if they were going to attend the party.

The Knight’s Inn was an older motel and one that had a facade that I had never seen in other hotels. It shared its parking lot with the Denny’s Restaurant, and to separate the two establishments, the inn was surrounded by a tall iron fence with only one keycard entrance. It made me wonder about the surrounding area, which seemed fine to me except for the one person who walked into registration and spoke gibberish to the night clerk. Somehow, the clerk understood him and gave some papers to mollify him.

Nevertheless, I was not put off, and after check-in, I went to the car and spent the next hour unloading the mass of equipment and moving it to the second-floor room. Fortunately, the hotel let me use their luggage cart. The room itself was fairly large but worn… wallpaper peeling, ceiling light unshaded, door lock shaky, and smoke alarm unplugged. However, the bed was big and fairly comfortable, and though the glass patio door was only single-paned, the noise level from the freeway a few blocks away was sufficiently low.

For next few hours, I separated the hardware into Commodore and Amiga groups and scrubbed the exterior of the machines. Mustn’t have the party attendees play on dirty equipment.

Midnight came too soon, and exhausted from a day at work and the long drive to Rosemead, I went to bed.

I awoke at 8 the next morning. I checked my e-mail; rats, none of my L.A. contacts said anything about bringing Amiga game disks to the party. I shaved, took a shower, and dressed. Then it was time to repack the computer items into the station wagon. The party was to begin at noon, and I was running late.

I didn’t get to Nucleus until after 1 p.m.. Parking was in back of the building, but it was not nearby parking; it was far to the back of the building. I walked around and found the entrance. I was surprised that Nucleus was bright and airy with large glass walls and books and other doodads for sale in the front of the establishment. I signed in, and when I walked to where all the party activity was happening in back, I came across Geoff almost immediately. The back area had been darkened, and all of the arcade game machines and home gaming consoles were already set up. In fact, set-up had begun on the Thursday before the party. Geoff pointed the area where he wanted me to be. He had already set up a C64, 1702 monitor, 1571 drive, and a couple of boxes filled with C= game disks. He had also placed a 1080 monitor for the Amiga and asked if I had the RGB cable for it. No problem… it was in my carry case.

Filmmakers Rory Muir and Jerold Kress called to me. They had contacted me beforehand, and they had just re-entered the venue, having arrived earlier and then departing for some refreshments. They were there to film Commodore activities, and I went about the business of prepping all the gear while trying not to stare into their videocameras. Even without having to move a C64, drive, and monitors from my car to the gaming room, I still had to move boxes of disks and the Amiga equipment. Several shuttles from the car to the room later, I was perspiring greatly in the warm day. Rory found some paper towels for me, and I wiped my brow and neck and went back to attaching all the materials.

O.K., Guitar Hero guitar and PSX64 adapter plus power supply connected to the C64. All Amiga goods in place, ready to go. Power up… success! Everything looked as it should. Now it was time to deal with the latest Shredz64.D64 file that I had saved on a SD card. Geoff had provided a non-Jiffy-DOSsed 1541, and the others in my car didn't have JiffyDOS either. I didn't want to deal with running the Shredz64 .D64 file without JiffyDOS and having to run other game files, too, without that enhancement.

I decided to convert the Shredz64 .D64 back into a real disk. It was saved with a strange, non-alphabetical character (a reversed block) in the file name. By using a SD2IEC, I tried to rename it. No luck. The Commodore couldn’t rename it (not without a file manager that could deal with non-alphabetical characters). Hmm. I didn’t have Payton Byrd’s CBM-Command file manager program with me, but I did have Errol Smith’s D64it. I tried to convert it on the SD2IEC. No luck. How about moving the .D64 to a 1581 disk (I had brought a 1581 with me), and from there try to convert it. Nah, why do that?

As I pondered what to do, it was already 2:30, and Rory suggested lunch at a nearby Middle Eastern restaurant. Thinking that this may be my only time to get some food in me during the event, I agreed, and Rory, Jerold, and I walked a few blocks down Main Street to the upscale restaurant which seemed Egyptian to me. Ah, time to relax and talk… Jerold about his upcoming film festival for youth, and Rory and I about Portland, Oregon Commodore user groups, the Commodore Vegas Expo, my family, and the different car I was using (my usual Ford Crown Vic was being smogged). I had the chicken shish kebab lunch, Jerold had a sandwich, and Rory had the vegetarian plate. My opinion of my lunch – tasty with plenty of seasoned rice but not enough chicken.

When we started walking back, it was 4 (where had all the time gone?), and the day had turned refreshingly cool with flowing breezes. At Nucleus I went back to the problem of how to get Shredz64 going. O.K., I figured out everything. Geoff’s 1571 wouldn't work correctly with D64it, and I substituted my brown 1541. SD2IEC would be set to drive 9. For D64it to recognize that troublesome filename, I used a wildcard ? in place of that reversed block character. I put a blank disk into the 1541. Crossing my fingers, I set D64it in motion. The 1541 dearchiving process started correctly! Now all I had to do was to wait until Shredz64 was turned back into a real disk. Some time later, the process stopped. I checked the directory. It all seemed normal. With some trepidation, I restarted the C64 and ran Shredz64. Opening screen… and then main menu! Yes! Choose a song, watch the scrolling notes, and play them on the Guitar Hero guitar. Though my coordination was bad, the system worked perfectly. Ah, all was good. Time – about 6 p.m..

During all this time, I had had Martin Piper’s Berzerk v1.1 going on the C64 and Space Cutter on the Amiga. Now the attendees would be able to play Shredz64 and the Guitar Hero guitar. In fact, there was one attendee who had patiently waited all afternoon just to play Shredz64 on the Commodore. He was one of the first to use Shredz64, and he recalled how he played it at the last SC3 Arcade Party. I informed him that this was a freshly-downloaded disk with new songs. Throughout the night, person after person came to play Shredz64, maybe not to the degree that had been done at the last party because of where my Commodore/Amiga table had been placed – against a side wall and where attendees would have to cross other chairs and other attendees to get to it. I stuck by the table, helping each person with how to choose songs and how to play the Guitar Hero guitar. In fact, when there was no one in line to play it, I would try the easiest song on the disk, “Bombo”, and I became better at it (but still not proficient). When Shredz64 was not playing, I would load up Berzerk or other games, like Ghostbusters, depending on what the attendee(s) would request.

Speaking of Berzerk, the real, stand-up arcade Berzerk machine was across the hall. I had to try it out and compare it to the Commodore version. The real one had slower moving characters on the screen and one vocalization that the C64 version did not have. “Chicken. Fight like a robot,” it would intone in its robotic voice. (Later on, I was told that the C64 version did have that line, and it was just that I hadn't crossed that part of the game where the robots would speak it.)

There were many other stand-up machines there. My favorite from the last SC3 party was not there, but I did try out Tron in honor of the newly-released movie, Tron: Legacy. Ooo, I was poor at knocking out the tanks in the first level.

A bit after 8 p.m. the concert portion of the party began. Mr. Spastic was first up, and his chiptune music was satisfying but after awhile, the numbers seemed repetitious. He even used a converted brown C64 in which the guts were removed and MIDI electronics was placed inside of it. The second musician was Wizwars, and I did not prefer his tunes at all, because I could not pick up any melody from them. His numbers seemed to be more noise than music. Finally, the evening’s music wrapped up with ComputeHer (Michelle Sternberger) playing a set followed by her husband, Naughty Boy of 8-Bit Weapon (Seth Sternberger). I videotaped their portion, because they were deep into using a C64 and C128 to create live music. However, even after listening to them, I was fatigued.

Noise fatigue! That was it! The enclosed space of Nucleus just reverberated all the sounds, whether they were the sounds of the arcade machines, game consoles, and computers or the classic 80’s movies playing on the wall or the hundreds of people squeezed into the space. I couldn’t wear my camcorder headphones for long, because the sounds would be concentrated and amplified through them. The extraneous noise was why the concerts grew tiresome for me. I could not enjoy them to the fullest. Like my friends Rory and Jerold had discovered earlier, when I stepped outside for a breath, it would be so quiet and peaceful in the night air.

Speaking of Rory and Jerold, I eventually discovered that they had disappeared. I had thought they were just outside, relaxing in the night air. I found out later that they had to depart during the final concerts and didn’t want to bother me as I was concentrating on filming.

After the concerts, the crowd started thinning out. The midnight closing of the party grew near. I bought an audio CD of ComputeHer (having bought 8-Bit Weapon’s latest CD months ago). I also went upstairs to the buy/trade tables in order to look for Commodore and/or Amiga items. Upstairs was where they also had the raffle for prizes. This year I found several Colecovisions for sale plus the usual slew of Atari, Colecovision, Intellivision, and other carts. Ah-ha, there among a pile of joysticks was a little Kraft joystick – my favorite because it had 8-way control. The seller wanted $5 for the used Kraft, and I balked at that price. However, he said that he had machined the plastic joystick handle and had inserted a metal stud to reinforce it. That handle was the weak point of the joystick, and with that metal, it would be perfect. And so, I bought it.

Not waiting until midnight, the SC3 organizers started disassembling and turning off machines around 11:30. As a form of thank you, I tried to make Geoff a disk copy of Berzerk, but I ran into problems with two-drive copying between the 1541 and the 1571. and I failed to make that copy. Then the electricity was cut to my systems, and that was my notice to start taking them apart.

Geoff looked exhausted. I knew that look, because I had been in that same condition after putting on the annual Commodore Vegas Expo. I asked him if there was going to be another party in the fall, the party having been put on twice a year in the past. He couldn’t be positive, but it looked as if the party was only going to be held once a year from now on, due to the amount of work to set it up in the new venue. He complained of the tiring workload, and I answered, “No, you can’t burn out.”

Once again I had to make several trips to my car, arms loaded with gear; I promised myself the next time I’d have to bring a cart. In fact, when I tried to pick up the last load – my carry case and camera bag – the doors had been locked by the owners. Nooo! I just needed to take out one more load. Geoff and the others went around to the back door (which was never open throughout the entire event), knocked on it, and got the owners to let me in.

The last of us dispersed to our cars, Geoff’s truck being near my station wagon. He peered through the windows of the station wagon and laughed. He couldn’t believe that it was nearly stuffed to the car's ceiling. “What?!” I cried in mock disbelief to his reaction. “It’s a car filled with Commodore goodness.” He responded, “I thought I had a lot with four Commodores!” I smiled, and then we took off, him to his house and me to my hotel room.

Back to the Past

Issue 11, August 2007

By Neil Reive

As we continue our ‘Back to the Past’ feature, we go back to August 2007 and look at issue eleven of Commodore Free… And first up was a review of the first English issue of Amiga Future ( ). Following the demise of Total Amiga, it was merged with the German based magazine, which had been running in German only for 67 issues. “Issue number one looks very professionally with a clean layout and is very well produced,” commented Commodore Free. “The issue lists some 19 Co-editors as well as the main editor 3 Text correction writers and 13 translators. Slightly more than Commodore free… Unfortunately it is very obvious when reading the magazine that the issue was created in German and then translated into the English language. The text is readable, but the Grammar is sometimes incorrectly… I understand from various emails and groups that this issue was rather rushed, mainly due to the demise of the English language Total Amiga magazine. The magazine is still readable and a superb effort from the contributors. The magazine cover and back are in glorious full colour; but the inside is sadly monochrome.”

The first interview of this issue was with Jens Schofield founder and owner of Individual Computers ( ), who described himself as “the man behind things like the Graffiti video card, the Buddha IDE controller, the Catweasel floppy controller and multiple other expansions for the Amiga.” One of the questions Commodore Free asked Jens was what were his feelings regarding the (then) current Amiga situation? “To be honest, I feel sorry for the Amiga community,” replied Jens, honestly. “They have been split into a ‘blue and a red camp’, and a lot of energy is wasted on war between these camps. Many people have lost the focus, and there's nobody who is channelling all the energy that is still there. Small projects are being started but never actually finished or even brought near a state where it could be called ‘a working prototype’.”

Next up for the interview treatment was Glenn Holmer, a Java programmer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA). Known for his Power C Compiler skills, Glenn’s website can be found at . When asked, “what makes "Power C" an appealing language?” Glenn said that “there is something about the syntax of C that is very seductive: it is compact and expressive at the same time. And once you learn it well, you can code very fast, which makes it appealing to use on a Commodore. Assembly language takes too long to code, and higher-level languages like Pascal or COBOL take too much memory.”

RGCD ( ), a downloadable HTML CD-ROM based gaming magazine, was profiled. The disc zine contains homebrew and indie games reviews, features and interviews. Not only that, but the disc contains the actual games featured in the reviews as well. An interview with James Monkman, RGCD Disk Magazine Editor, followed straight after. One question, which no one seems to agree on: “What in your mind makes a game retro?” was asked off James. “Personally,” replied James, “I would term a machine as retro when it is no longer commercially supported - i.e. you can't buy games for it in the shops. By my reckoning, the GBA, Dreamcast, N64 and PS1 are all now retro platforms. The PC is a little harder to define, but then I suppose you would use operating systems (DOS, Windows 95, etc) as a benchmark.” Spot on in my book.

With the sad news of Commodore Scene’s VGA adaptor halting development, Commodore Free published an article from on “Using the Commodore 128 Computer with a VGA Monitor”. With an “RTV Veg Lite Composite-to-VGA converter and Highway CGA (RGBI)-to-VGA Converter”, it is possible to route the RCA jack on the Composite-to-VGA converter. “VGA output from the Composite-to-VGA converter is routed to the VGA bypass connector on the RGBI-to-VGA converter. The RGBI-to-VGA converter connects directly to the 9-pin D-Sub connector on the Commodore 128 for 80-column video. The VGA monitor is connected to the VGA Output connector on the RGBI-to-VGA converter There is a bypass switch on the back of the RGBI-to-VGA converter that, when used with a Composite-to-VGA converter, allows you to toggle between 40-column and 80-column modes. The switch is in an awkward location, though (in the back between the power and bypass cable connectors), so for convenience I've added a toggle switch to the front of my project box.” There you go. Simple, huh?

Frank Gasking, founder and admin at Games That Weren’t ( ), was next in the CF interview chair. One of the many questions asked was “what is your greatest find for Games That Weren't?” To which Frank replied: “A tough one really - but it has to be Solar Jetman - mainly because it was salvaged from its last remaining disk copy from a briefcase stuffed behind a radiator. It worked perfectly fine, and it was a fantastic conversion too. That finding kind of put GTW in the limelight and has helped since uncover other titles. Second has to be a joint fight between Tyger Tyger and Deadlock (Two other huge titles which had been missing for over a decade).”

Rounding off the issue was the Hexfiles part 6, a programming tutorial from Jason Kelk ( ). This time around, the readers were taken through a lesson on raster interrupts. Essentials needed for this step by step guide were “the inside of a toilet roll, some sticky backed plastic and two washing up liquid bottles” Just a bit of light humour before the actual programming began…